I make it a point to log into our Google My Business listing on a weekly basis in order to check for any new Google suggested updates, which are usually abundant.
During the course of my check-in today, I noticed something strange...
Google Websites are back.
I had seen some test sites floating around in different articles, but they were previously only available in some regions. It looks like they're back in action for everyone.
For fun, I thought I would set one up for our company and walk you all through the different options and the legitimacy (or lack-there-of) of using a Google Website for your business.
The Google Website allows for you to choose a theme from their pre-designed templates. You can add a headline, a short description, summary header, and body text. The body text allows for outbound linking and gives few formatting options. Any photos from your Google My Business listing are brought over, and you have the option to upload more. You are also given the option to buy your own domain name, which I would not suggest.
As you can see, the options with a Google Website are severely lacking. I struggle to even call it a 'website'. It behaves more like a profile page; simply showing all of the information available on your Google My Business listing but arranging it in a slightly more aesthetically pleasing way.
But what about the SEO?
Naturally, as an SEO company, our first thought was, "will this even rank? Is this a 'real website' for search engines?"
Well, right now, there is no cut and dry answer to that questions. Ranking takes time and the service is brand new. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Google opted to give their own websites a little bump in ranking since they're notoriously narcissistic.
But just for a lark, we ran the website through SEOQuake; an SEO site audit tool that detects errors within the coding of a website.
As you can see, it has several major errors and warnings, including:
- No Meta Description
- No Headings
- No Schema
- No Robot.txt
- No Sitemap
These are some very serious errors to have on a website and I would argue that lacking these basic necessities, it will never rank organically.
All that technical mumbo-jumbo aside, it's not that pretty. Take a look at the
Should I even bother?
I would. Even if the Google 'Website' is severely lacking in all of the essential website-like qualities, I think that it could prove to be beneficial.
I don't believe it will replace professionally built websites, by any means, rather, it will act as another powerful citation for your business.
I will always recommend that business owners have a professional website for their company. However, I think that the Google 'Website' will help those out there that have yet to get one.
To make your own, simply click the tab titled 'Website' on the left-hand panel while logged in to your Google My Business listing.
*Update* I noticed that when you create a Google Website, it automatically replaces your existing website on your Google My Business listing. Be sure to change your website back if you have an existing, professional website.
All in all...
Alot remains to be seen.
I think that the Google 'Website' is comically un-website-like, however I appreciate that it allows for small business owners to have something rather than nothing.
I just worry that some people will misjudge the quality of the Google 'Website' and end up hurting themselves in the long run.